The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, at Butler, Kentucky. Representative Tom McKee, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David Givens, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Bob Leeper, Joey Pendleton, Kathy W. Stein, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Dwight D. Butler, James R. Comer Jr., Mike Denham, C. B. Embry Jr., Jimmy Higdon, Martha Jane King, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, Sannie Overly, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Dottie Sims, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Dave Maples, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association; County Judge Executive Henry Bertram and magistrates Gary Beers and Stacy Wells; Tim Hughes, GOAP; and Representative John Will Stacy.
LRC Staff: Biff Baker, Lowell Atchley, D. Todd Littlefield, Dane Bowles, Graduate Fellow, and Susan Spoonamore, Committee Assistant.
Representative McKee introduced Marty Griffin, COO, Griffin Industries, Inc. Mr. Griffin explained that Griffin Industries was founded in 1943 and is the largest independent, privately-owned animal and bakery by-product recycling company in North America. They employ 1,400 people with 407 employees in Kentucky. He said that from agriculture-based recycling operations to bakery services, Griffin’s products include fats, oils, proteins, bakery by-products, alternative fuels, methyl esters, leather goods, and organic fertilizers.
Mr. Griffin stated that their company implements waste management and recycling systems for many industries such as
· Meat packing– poultry, pork, and beef
· Recycling spent cooking oil
· Leather– beef and pork hides
· Bakery products
· Nature Safe Organic Fertilizers
He explained that the rendering operation was the core of their business, processing approximately 65 million pounds a week.
The foundation to Griffin’s success is producing consistent, high quality products with commitment to biosecurity. Griffin has implemented prevention-based programs as defined by the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety model, with a world class centralized laboratory.
In an effort to improve customer value, several unique nutrition products have been developed. Griffin’s Bi-Pas proteins has dramatically improved dairy milk productions, Flash Dried Poultry Meal has increased protein digestibility, Cookie Meal is a high energy corn replacement, and the successful Fat On The Farm program has enhanced farmer flexibility in formulating rations “on the farm”.
Using state-of-the-art technology, Griffin produces an approved alternative fuel known as biodiesel. Bio-G-3000 is derived from recycled restaurant oils and soybean oil. Griffin also produces VersaGen Specialty Methyl Esters. From Griffin’s high quality animal proteins, Nature Safe Natural & Organic Fertilizers are formulated to represent a complete line of turf care products.
A vital part of Griffin Industries is environmental stewardship. Griffin’s production locations are certified through Audubon’s Cooperative Sanctuary System.
Touching briefly on the new BSE Feed Rule, which would require the brain and spinal cords of cattle to be removed before processing, Mr. Griffin stated that the rendering industry has until October 2009 to be in full compliance, and Griffin Industry will be ready. He noted that Griffin Industry opposes the new mandate as it will eliminate many rendering services due to the excessive collection costs. This in turn will cause improper dead animal disposal, creating health and environmental concerns.
Upon questioning, Mr. Griffin responded that he did not envision the federal rule being withdrawn, though he and others in the industry are continuing to lobby against the rule. He noted that the brains and spinal cords can currently be taken to a landfill.
Mr. Griffin also stated that they would continue to render until at least October. They can currently use the rendered cattle to produce a high-quality turf fertilizer. If they can continue to market that fertilizer, Griffin will be able to afford to continue rendering. If not, they will have to re-evaluate their position.
Upon final questioning, Mr. Griffin noted that other states are experiencing the same compliance problems as Kentucky, and that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and other agricultural groups were working diligently to address the situation.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned and the members toured the laboratory, biodiesel, rendering, and animal feed facilities of Griffin Industries.